Pigeons And Park Benches This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   "This used to be my favorite day of the year," I told the pigeons,though I knew they didn't care. They just wanted the stale bread that I wassharing with them. I was hungry, but I figured that pigeons must get hungry too.Anyway, I needed the company. "It was certainly the busiest day of the year.My entire family would spend the whole day cooking, preparing for Christmas Eveat Grandmother's house. We always made sure that we had seven kinds of fish. Ialways hated fish, but I ate it on Christmas because it was a tradition. Exceptoctopus. I could never get myself to eat octopus." The pigeons were allfighting for one little crumb, so I gave them another piece. I didn't really wantto eat it; it was more fun to watch them. They all flocked to me like teenagegirls around a rock star.

The city had done a nice job putting the lightson the trees in the park. Each branch had lights so that the trees looked as ifthey were made of pipecleaners. My mother loved lights. Our house was always thebrightest one on the street. We even had a lit Santa on the roof and a plasticsnowman in the front yard. I felt like I lived at Woolworth's. My sister and Iwould comment on how tacky it was, and my mother would tell us that when we hadour own homes we could put up whatever we liked. "I like small twinklylights," I said. "They look like stars."

"I like themwhen they're all white," said my sister. We had big, multicolored lights onour house. "I'm never going to be tacky about Christmas when I get old. AndI'm never giving my grandchildren pajamas or underwear." We always gotpajamas and underwear from our grandmother.

"Oh, I think you have to,in order to be a real grandmother. My grandchildren are getting pajamas. And I'llbake a lot. All grandmothers bake a lot, especiallyfruitcakes."

"I thought you hated fruitcake." I did hatefruitcake. "I won't have time to bake. I'll be in Florida or Bermuda playingtennis or lying on the beach. Besides, baking isfattening."

"Grandmothers should be fat," was my opinion onthe matter.

"Oh, no," she argued. "Then you look old. Inever want to look old. My clothes will always be in fashion, and I'll getfacials and manicures. I'll be a very stylish and sophisticated mature woman.Nobody will ever think I'm an old lady."

"Young-looking clothesjust make you look that much older," I said. "I'm going to wear oldshapeless dresses, and cardigan sweaters, and funny hats, and big clumpy shoes aold lady clothes."

I continued. "Don't people who go south evermiss winter? I know I would. I'll stay in the same place year round. I'll be thekind of old lady who gets up early to shovel her walk, even if there's only halfan inch of snow."

"I think people like that are ridiculous. Ihate snow. It turns black and then it's ugly."

I ignored her."All the kids will love me and I'll invite them in for hot chocolate andcookies when they're through sledding."

"And all the parentswill call the police because they'll think you're kidnapping theirchildren." My sister was always a pessimist.

"No, they won't.They'll all think I'm a saint because I'll go to church half an hour early everySunday so I can say the rosary and listen to the choir rehearsing. But I won'tsit in the back. I wonder why old ladies always sit in the back of thechurch."

I hadn't been asking a question, but I got an answer anyway."Because they don't want people to see their funny hats. I'm not going to goto church when I don't have to."

"Oh, I am. All old ladiesshould. Every day."

"Every day?"

"Somebody hasto. Who else would?"

"I don't think I could stand it every day.Are you going to have little plastic Jesus statues on your dashboard,too?"

"Come on. That's a sacrilege. Anyway, I won't have acar."

"How will you get around then? I'm going to have aconvertible," she said dreamily. "A red one."

I tried notto laugh at the thought of an old lady in a convertible. "I'll walk to thegrocery store and bring the cart home with me. I'll take the bus everywhere elseI need to go. Everyone will always give me their seat because I'm an old lady.The bus driver will even know my name. Everybody loves old ladies. They can getaway with anything."

She agreed, "Yeah, like that lady who triedto write a check for an ice cream cone."

"I want to be just likethat when I get old," I told her.

And so went ourconversations.

Ae**Ae**Ae**Ae**Ae**Ae**Ae**Ae**Ae**Ae**

I haven't seen mysister in a number of years. She just sent me a Christmas card from Barbados.Things had really turned out well for her. And there I was sitting on a parkbench feeding pigeons.

I ran out of bread. "Sorry to disappoint youguys," I apologized to the birds. I got up, rubbing my bottom which was coldfrom sitting on the hard park bench. I walked down the street, past thepipecleaner trees, past all the already blackened snow heaps, and paused for amoment to look in the window at Woolworth's. There were some nice pajamas there.Too bad I don't have any grandchildren, I thought. I stood there for a moment,contemplating grandchildren, then continued down the street. I wanted to get tochurch early.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

BellaBarbaric said...
Aug. 19, 2009 at 10:29 am
Lovely piece. Really nice and sweet, the conversations between the two sister were believeable too. I really enjoyed reading it.
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback